Earlier today I was feeling pretty down; I was due to attend my first writer’s workshop and was looking forward to getting a few tips on the best way to get published. I have written a children’s picture book about toilet training and it’s hard to find an Irish publisher for this work so I have been targeting companies in the UK. I was hopeful this class would give me some insight into how best I can present my work. Then illness struck. I woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat, stabbing headache and aches all over. I dosed myself up and went to bed early, praying it was just a 24 hour thing. It wasn’t and there was no way I could face the class. A quick trip to Tesco was enough to convince me of that.
So I came home, played with my daughter and then sunk into a pit of gloom when she went for her nap. I decided to read my Psychologies magazine in an attempt to cheer myself up. I always find Sally Brampton’s musings, on the last page, both insightful and cheering. Her piece in this month’s issue was no less so. She worries that we all want to be someone else, that we feel we are not enough in and of ourselves. This is true. Whenever new talent emerges on the scene the comparisons are quick to follow; ‘the new U2’, ‘the new Cathy Kelly’ etc. While these comparisons are meant to be flattering (and no doubt quite a boost to the ego) it does suggest a society where we it is not okay to just be yourself; we seem to need to take over the mantle from someone else.
I feel that a lot when I am writing. I feel as if my work will never be good enough. When I’m reading (and I read a lot) I can’t help feeling that my voice isn’t as strong as others, that my words won’t ever reach people as the words of others have reached me. I constantly feel I am barking up the wrong tree with this writing business yet writing makes me happier than anything else I have tried. And I have tried, dismissing writing as ‘just a pipe dream’. It is tough trying to succeed in this world, trying to make yourself heard over so many other talented voices.
But belief starts at home. If you do not believe in yourself than nobody else will. Equally if you try to imitate others or compare yourself to them; you might as well give up now. You are you and I am me and it’s time we all started to realise that we are enough just the way we are.